The Samanid, or Samanian dynasty or the Samanid Empire was the first native
dynasty to hold sway over a sizeable part of
Persia after the
Muslim Arab conquest.
The Samanid dynasty (819–999)
was named after its founder
Khuda, who converted to
The Samanids are remembered for the impetus they imparted to
Persian national sentiment,
culture and language, as opposed to Arab
culture and language The Persian (Farsi) language was born and replaced
Arabic as the official language, though the Samanids continued to encourage
The Samanids reigned for 180 years, encompassing a northeastern territory which included Khorasan (including Kabul), Ray, Transoxiania, Tabaristan, Kerman, Gorgan, and westward
up to Isfahan. This territory corresponds to a part of Central Asia, a part of
and the most of modern Afghanistan,
The Samanids claimed they were descendants of Bahram Chobin, and thus descended from the House of Mihran, one of the Seven Great Houses of
Actually, the Samanids were probably
from the time of Saman Khuda, who himself apparently came from the
village of Saman in the province of Balkh Afghanistan and was converted to Islam
by Asad ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Qasri, the governor of Kharasan. In his honor, Saman
named his son Asad., The Samanids modeled their state after the Abbasids.
They imitated the
Caliph's court and organization. They were rewarded for supporting the Abbasids in Transoxania and Khorasan.
The four grandsons of the dynasty's founder, Saman-Khoda,
were rewarded with provinces for their faithful service to the
in supressing a revolt. Nuh obtained Samarkand; Ahmad, Fergana; Yahya, Shash; and Elyas, Herat. Ahmad's son Nasr became governor of Transoxania in 875 CE.
His brother and and successor, Ismail I (892-907 CE) overthrew the Saffarids in Khorasan
about 900 and the Zaydites of Tabaristan, thus establishing semi-autonomous rule over Transoxania and Khorasan, with Bukhara as his capital.
is remembered in the history of Central Asia not only as a strong and capable politician, but also as an equitable ruler.
He reformed the tax system and confiscated the possessions of some landowners.
The successors of Ismail could not continue his policy, and remained
under the influence of their Turkish guard, who later established the
Ghaznavid dynasty, and alongside with the Qarakhanids ended the rule of the Samanids in 999 CE. However, in some
respects the time of Ismail's successors was more important that his own. The time of Nasr ibn Ahmad (914 - 943 CE) is described by many authors as the golden age of the Samanid rule, because of flowering of literature and culture. The main role in this process was played by the Samanid
viziers, among whom the two most important were Abu Abdellah Jayhani, and Abul Fazl Mohammad Balami. They
made Bukhara the cultural centre of
The Bukharan emirate the Samanids established survived until 1920, when it was disbanded
by the Soviets.
The Samanids never called themselves Shahs or
and adhered to the more modest title of Emir or Amir, suitable to a provincial
- Saman Khuda (C 720)
- Asad ibn Saman (c 780)
- Yahya ibn Asad (819-855)
- Nasr I (864 - 892)
- Ismail (892 - 907)
- Ahmad (907 - 914)
- Nasr II (914 - 943)
- Nuh I (943 - 954)
- 'Abd al-Malik I (954 - 961)
- Mansur I (961 - 976)
- Nuh II (976 - 997)
- Mansur II (997 - 999)
- 'Abd al-Malik II (999)
Nov 8, 2010
Synonyms and alternate spellings: